Tag: Ed Sheeran

This Week Playlist: 7 Cracking New Tunes

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Tuesday morning is the new home of the This Week Playlist. These are the songs I’ve heard a couple of times and rather like the sound of. They’re here for your pleasure: to tickle your ears and to soundtrack your week.

There’s a distinctly dance-heavy vibe to the playlist – that’s not intentional nor particularly reflective of what I’ve been listening to of late; I simply go where I think the quality is right now.

 

Destructo, E-40, Too $hort – All Nite

Destructo is LA based former A&R/record executive Gary Richards, who helped to bring Basement Jaxx to a mainstream audience. With All Nite he achieves a similar feat to many of Jaxx’s back catalogue; it’s an instantly-grabbing party track full of fun and frolics. Bulldozing the line between hip hop and dance, this is stoner-inspired party music that’ll put a smile on your face.

Todd Terje – Jungelknugen (Four Tet Remix) 

Oh man, Four Tet just keeps getting better. His journey from obscure electronica producer to master of the main stage has been one of the most brilliant and unlikely stories in the – relatively short – history of dance music, and here he’s on remixing duty for the ever brilliant Todd Terje. As with his Opus remix, Jungelknugen refuses to go where you expect it to, but continues to delight throughout. Building synths, layer upon layer of electronic waves and some out and out hands-in-the-air moments; stonkingly good.

Denis Sulta – Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP)

Young Glaswegian DJ and producer Denis Sulta is beginning to make serious waves in the house scene. Here Dubelle Oh XX gets a reworking from his fellow Glaswegian – and stunningly good – DJ Jackmaster. Ripe for inclusion at every dance festival in 2017, this is a track that’ll get inside your head and stay there. Complete with a baffling breakdown in the middle, this is basically a Jackmaster set in a nutshell: danceable, memorable, often bonkers and very bloody good.

Stormzy – Mr Skeng

His debut album Gang Signs & Prayer came out on Friday and – following his show-stealing cameo at the Brits with Ed Sheeran last week – Stormzy is the centre of attention right now. I could have picked two or three tracks from the album for this list but I love the rawness of Mr Skeng. It’s well-produced and there’s plenty in the background, but ultimate its about Stormzy; his voice, his lyrics and his moment. If you missed his recent interview in the Guardian, I highly recommend you go and read it.

Bicep – The Game (Catz N’ Dogz Interpretation) 

Bicep’s 2013 track The Game gets a facelift for 2017 courtesy of Catz N’ Dogz. This sounds like the kind of track that would soundtrack a video game in your dreams, where you’re driving around all night without any sort of destination in sight. It strays into some 80’s sounds, but still feels pretty timeless.

The Attic Sleepers – Leopard 

This is just a beautiful piece of indie-pop from Danish duo The Attic Sleepers. Straying into the kind of upbeat sunshine sound – complete with brass – that Bombay Bicycle Club mastered, Leopard will leave you feeling both vulnerable and optimistic.

Elliot Moss – Closedloop 

New York singer-songwriter Elliot Moss finds himself firmly in the James Blake comparison zone with Closedloop, a creeping, discomforting, electro crawl of a pop track.

 

 

The A List – the best 10 tracks around – 22 January

logomakr_0q2tabHere’s the A List for this week: my favourite 10 tracks at the moment.

Every Sunday I post a new A List,  an insight into what I’m loving right now. This has been a ridiculously good week for new music so there’s a fair bit of change from last week. I try not to be too hype-tastic about music – as the blog goes on there will be weeks when I’m less sure about stuff or periods where I feel there isn’t a huge amount of quality music – but I feel the stuff I’ve posted since Monday has been of a very high standard.

So let’s get to it. Here is this week’s A List:

1. The Black Madonna – He is the Voice I Hear (New Entry)

A lullaby for insomniacs. The Black Madonna has brought created a musical cosmic masterpiece that weaves in jazz, disco and strings. It’s a stunning record that has a hugely cinematic quality; bold in design and divine in execution. Well worth reading this interview with her from Mixmag.

2. Bonobo – No Reason (New Entry)

The Bonobo album is giving a lot of my friends a lot of pleasure, and No Reason is a real highlight.  Mournful vocals are matched by elegant electronic touches; it’s a claustrophobic listen that leaves you wanting to curl up in a blanket and hide away from the world.

3. LOYAL – Moving As One (New Entry)

Last Wednesday’s Track of the Day, LOYAL’s Moving As One has plenty of layers that span different genres and enough musical ability to bring it together seamlessly.

4. Esther Joy Lane – Ever Ever (New Entry)

I was a little unfair to Esther Joy Lane on Thursday when this was Track of the Day, as I hadn’t heard her debut EP from 2015, which is well worth checking out and has a different sound to the two tracks I’d heard. Ever Ever is a cracking song that – as I said on Twitter – gets better with every listen.

5. Army of Bones – Don’t Be Long (Down 4) 

An unexpected indie treat. Strong pulsing guitars and a polished melody makes this a fine January listen. It struck me this week that this sounds an awful lot like Richard Ashcroft’s Song for the Lovers, which is no bad thing at all.

6. Harlea – You Don’t Get It (New Entry)

Our first ever Track of the Day on the site, You Don’t Get It has a sturdy blues rock base and adds in a splash of rock and roll and a small pinch of pop. It’s confident, familiar and distinctive, not an easy combination to pull off.

7. The XX – Dangerous (New Entry)

A tremendous statement of intent to kick off new album I See You. I struggle to think of another band who have so effectively stated a change in direction and a stepping-up of their sound as The XX have with Dangerous.

 

8. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You  (Down 6) 

A straight up pop banger originally written for Rihanna. This is perfectly simple, yet highly effective. He’s still blowing away streaming and download records, and with a new album due soon, he’s could make 2017 his year.

9. Dan Croll – Away From Today (New Entry)

A slightly disorientating indie pop track that could easily have been take from Bombay Bicycle Club’s back catalogue. It plays with the senses a little, never quite settling. But for the ridiculously abrupt ending, I rather like this.

10. Code Orange – Bleeding in the Blur  (Down 7) 

A nice chunk of dirty rock and roll, with waves of feedback and a dark, menacing vibe. This is my first introduction to Code Orange, but I look forward to hearing more of their stuff.

You can listen to all ten tracks here:

 

The A List: 15th January

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Introducing The A List: my favourite 10 tracks at the moment.

Every Sunday I’ll be posting a new A List, and it’ll give you an insight into what I’m loving right now. I’ve implemented a couple of rules (at the bottom, if you’re interested), but this is mostly a chance for me to take stock of what tracks are working for me – and why.

Early January is often a pretty quiet time for new music, but with new albums from You Me At Six and The XX, and new singles from London Grammar, Ed Sheeran and others, there’s been plenty to listen to.

Here is this week’s A List:

1. Army of Bones – Don’t Be Long

An unexpected indie treat. The lead singer in AoB was in the Christian rock band Delirious? and Don’t Be Long is obviously from musicians with a fine idea of what makes a good track. Strong pulsing guitars and a polished melody makes this a fine January listen.

2. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You 

First Friday of January and Ed Sheeran re-stakes his claim to be pop’s number one man. He released two singles that have broken all sorts of streaming and sales records, taken numbers 1 and 2 in the UK charts and helped to shake off the January blues. Shape of You was easily my favourite of the two singles; it’s a straight up pop banger with the same confident swagger that Bieber, Major Lazer and others have recently demonstrated (often with Sheeran-penned songs). That it was originally meant for Rihanna only makes me like it more.

3. Code Orange – Bleeding in the Blur

A nice chunk of dirty rock and roll, with waves of feedback and a dark, menacing vibe. This is my first introduction to Code Orange, but I look forward to hearing more of their stuff.

4. Julien Baker – Funeral Pyre 

A desperately sad track that revolves around drinking gasoline and the impact that has on relationships. It’s a little haunting – especially her beautiful vocals – and seems to sit in that rather marvellous spot in between country, folk and acoustic rock.

5. Kiesza – Dearly Beloved 

I was a massive fan of Kiesza’s 2014 single Hideaway and the accompanying one-take video, so it’s great to have her back. Dearly Beloved is a cheesy cocktail with a small slice of funk thrown in. It walks the tightrope of ‘too cheesy/brilliant’ a little brashly, but it’s working for me at the moment.

6. VANT – DO YOU KNOW ME? 

A welcome re-release of DO YOU KNOW ME? A protest record in support of young people today. “I’m down, I’m tired, I’m broke, I wanted something more” they sing, and it’s clear from their Radio 1 plays that they’re striking a note with younger fans. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing VANT a few times in recent years – full disclosure, I was at the Scala gig that they filmed the DO YOU KNOW ME? video at – and they’ve really grown as a live band. Their debut album comes out in February and I fully expect them to be massive by the end of the year.

7. London Grammar – Rooting for You 

A rather beautiful and minimalist single marks the return of London Grammar. This track is all about the vocals; they soar in parts but betray a vulnerability matched with inner strength in the quieter moments. I went to see London Grammar a couple of years ago at Brixton Academy and it fell very flat, but hopefully with more songs – and some more experience of being on stage – they’ll be back bigger and better this time around.

8. You Me At Six – Spell It Out  

I’m going to write a longer piece on YMAS’s recent album later this week, but in my opinion Spell It Out is the record’s highlight, capturing a darker edge to the band and growing throughout. There’s some nice guitar work throughout and the transformation into Audioslave at the 2.30 mark is rather good fun.

9. Kehlani – Undercover 

I’ve gone back and forth on this track a few times. Part of me loves the slick r’n’b meets pop feel, a well-trodden path to the charts. But part of me dislikes the obviousness of the track, particularly the chorus. At the moment the first part of me is winning…

10. The XX – Say Something Loving

The XX are one of the very few bands I can think of that have yet to put a foot wrong. If you haven’t read it, you should check out the brilliant Pitchfork cover piece on the band and their new album, which you can find here

You can listen to all ten tracks here:

I’ve given myself a couple of rules:

  • I have to really like these tracks already. That usually means I’ll have given them 4 or 5 plays before they make it this far. If there is a lag between me posting a song and it appearing on here, that’s probably why.
  • Tracks can stay on the A List for a maximum of 4 weeks. I have a habit of overplaying records and then liking them less, and if I keep something in circulation for more than 4 weeks, that happens more regularly.